Businesses must strive to create brand advocates and activists – people who feel strongly enough about a product or service that they identify with it on a personal level. These companies could embody a certain viewpoint, show off a specific moral or social message or simply display a favorite character. What matters is the tie a consumer feels to the brand. Companies like Coca Cola, Disney and WalMart work hard to make their cultures emblematic of consumer-centric importance, reinforcing the message that this isn’t just a promotional product – it’s a symbol of something you love.
Putting your company logo on a product may seem like a routine way of showing off a business’ name, but it can light the way to more extreme marketing for companies that use targeted promotional giveaways to drive visibility and word-of-mouth. For these organizations, establishing a rapport with clientele, mobilizing employees and creating an online presence with dedicated followers can bring promotional products like bags, pens, notepads and planners to the next level.
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When a customer feels that deep connection to a brand, they make their opinion match the corporate message. That can be a huge marketing advantage for companies that foster this level of attachment, as a Deloitte study reported that more than three-fourths of consumers look to friends and family for product recommendations before pursuing an unfamiliar resource.
Reaching out to people with promotional giveaways in the local community can create a grassroots connection with consumers that they won’t get from national brands. They will identify the business as belonging to their neighborhood, an extension of the family in some cases, and will promote these brands even without a physical reminder of the company logo or slogan. Giving them an additional reminder, such as a tote bag with plenty of space for everyday needs and a broad surface to adorn corporate information, creates visibility and interest in the community for those who don’t yet know about the business. When they ask the bag’s owner about the company, that brand activist will create a bigger return on investment by providing a glowing recommendation for the business that should result in higher conversion.
Where To Start
Getting off the ground can sometimes be the hardest part of the process, so starting right in the local community should be your key tactic. Handing out pens and business cards at community events like fairs, trade shows and concerts can get the ball rolling and make a face-to-face contact with clientele. Going to local legislative bodies can also establish the organization at a deeper level within the community by regularly attending town hall meetings and advertising in municipal buildings where allowed.
These venues are also a valuable source of community information. You can find out about more upcoming events, learn consumer habits and make connections with individual shoppers. Find out what brand activists feel passionately about or really feel they could use in their lives, and then target products and promotions toward those needs.
Promoting to the world at large may be attainable someday, but starting out with your neighborhood should be the first step in building brand activism. A strong base of local shoppers devoted to your company will allow for word-of-mouth advertising and more visibility of promotional products when distributed appropriately. Since most consumers can either skip right over commercials on TV or the Internet, and paper advertising is simply thrown away, it’s the people themselves carrying promotional giveaways that serve as the most reliable marketing tools.
About the Author
Mariel Milla is the Content Manager at Myron, a company specializing in promotional products and giveaway items. She holds an MBA with wide experience in the service, retail and web industries. Follow Myron on Twitter @MyronCorp.